Sunday, August 13, 2017


Thank you, but no thank you. Way too old to put in eighteen hour days, day after day. My response to a recent phone call.

From 2002-2005 my employer, Steve Lance, went from a successful used truck and new stock and utility trailer dealership to starting from scratch four Kia dealerships. Along the way several more used car lots were added.

Steve is an intense former professional bull rider from Medicine Lodge, KS who has made and lost millions of dollars.  He decided we should conduct off site sales around Colorado. After the first, not real successful sale, he and his General Manager, Greg Miller, dragooned me for the job of organizing and supervising the program. My first requested title, “Chief Cat Herder” was rejected and I became the “Roadshow Wrangler”.

 Over the next three years we held sixty sales in twenty six different Colorado locales.

The phone call was from someone in the industry asking if I have an interest in doing it again. Not the first call of this nature I’ve received, and it is flattering, but my response is always, “Thanks but no thanks”.

A typical sale. This one in Trinidad, CO.

The motor home used as a mobile office.

My youngest with his first new car. He wasn’t pleased to have his picture taken. He bought it on his own with no help from me other than getting a smoking deal.

As an aside, Steve Lance had his name prominently displayed everywhere. It wasn’t ego. As he explained to me, if someone was dissatisfied, he wanted them to know who to talk to. His constant directive to me was, “Do it right, do it legal, and don’t cut corners”. 
Maybe that was one reason 30-40% of our customers had bought from us in the past.

That whole offsite sales business was a high point in my business life. That said, I don’t want to do it again.


  1. I think "Chief Cat Herder" would have been more appropriate!

    I've been involved in operations like that, and man, they sure can turn into a goat rope fast if somebody doesn't stay on top of things.

    BTW....the picture taken in Trinidad appears to have a weather balloon in it!

    I've launched about a thousand of those, and know exactly what they look like. The color of the balloon (latex) is right, and the hing hanging underneath it is the instrument package.

    1. You have a good eye. That is one of our balloons with an USA flag underneath. As I recall, about $40 plus the helium. No chaff inside to help track with radar.

    2. So it's tethered in place?

      I blew the picture up and couldn't get much resolution on what was dangling down from the balloon, so I just assumed it was a wx balloon.

    3. Yes, on 100' of stout line. Takes about one tank of helium to inflate properly. At another sale I didn't realize the line wasn't tied off on the spool. Off drifts the balloon, flag, and 100' of heavy line. My crew was amused.

    4. yuk-yuk!

      I did two different sizes of balloons. One was used for the first 4 releases, and the other for the last release 45 minutes before launch. The second balloon was much larger, and rose to altitude faster than the smaller one, which is why we used it. That size took about 3/4 of a tank of He to fill, while the smaller ones used about 1/4 tank. They all went up to 85,000~95,000 feet before they burst, sending their little instrument packages in free fall until they smacked the ocean.

      I've still got a few "out-of-date" balloons here, along with several of the "defective" radiosondes we hung from them.

      Doing the balloon releases was one of the fun aspects of the last job I had.

    5. 1966, Fulda Gap was called in to "disarm" an object stuck in some brush. Turned out to be a radiosondes. My pardner and I debated being pricks and telling the Cav guys we just dealt with mines. For this they needed to call in Ordnance. Instead we just pulled it out and explained what it was.

  2. Ah yes, life on the road... And the pressures to 'produce' with it!

    1. You know you are spending too much time on the road when the Post Office blocks your box because it is too full.